Kilauea's Latest Impact: Blue Flames And Beleaguered Residents

Adjust Comment Print

The nearby Gemini Observatory in Hilo, Hawaii, captured a time-lapse glimpse at Kilauea from Monday night into Tuesday morning as the light from the volcano and its almost two-dozen fissures beamed through the clouds.

Other flare-ups from the volcano were more formidable, as blue flames burned from cracks in the pavement on Wednesday.

However, authorities warned that if there is an underground build-up of the gas which is suddenly ignited, it can cause a powerful explosion, and toss chunks of rock several feet away, potentially injuring anybody it hits.

"I think the biggest worry for us is based on the geologic history of this volcano - is that the current fissure activity could actually become a bit larger", said geologist Steve Brantley from the U.S. Geological Survey.

He said it was just the second time he's ever seen blue flames during an eruption.

An explosive eruption at the Kilauea summit at 3:45 a.m. (9:45 a.m. EST) sent ash to a height of 8,000 feet (2,438 meters) over Hawaii's Big Island, civil defense said.

Authorities say that the situation at Puna Geothermal Venture remained stable at last report with no further encroachment reported overnight.

Deadly white clouds of acid and fine glass-like particles are hanging over Hawaii's Big Island as lava from the erupting Kilauea volcano flows into the ocean.

Workers in Hawaii plugging energy wells as lava flows nearby
Lava flow closes in on Hawaii power plant

In Pahoa, just a few miles from the lava flow, Nathan came across Robert Carton, who was was seeking information about his father's home, which was evacuated weeks ago and may very well be lost. The lava approached the southernmost point of the station's boundaries and a disused building belonging to the University of Hawaii caught fire, it stated.

The lava's ocean entry is also creating the potential for another hazard: delta collapses.

Stovall said the volcano is belching 15,000 tons of sulfur dioxide each day from ground vents that have formed since May 3.

"One of the first things emergency responders wanted to know was where the lava was coming out, where are all the fissures", said J.

On Wednesday, large amounts of lava continued to pour from fissures in the central part of the eruption zone from Leilani Estates to Lanipuna Gardens, the latter of which is nearly completely covered by lava. The volcano has been in almost continuous eruption since 1983.

A spike in gas levels could prompt a mass evacuation, said Hawaii County Civil Defense Administrator Talmadge Magno.

No major injuries have been reported from lava haze.

White House Chimes in on 'Laurel or Yanny' Debate
A straw poll carried out among staff in AFP's Washington bureau counted 17 for Yanny, and 14 for Laurel. Story said, "When I analysed the recording of Laurel, that third resonance is very high for the L.